Earlier today Premier Brian Pallister committed to not introducing a healthcare premium in Manitoba. On September 13 of this year, the Premier floated the possibility of introducing this new tax in Manitoba. Your Chamber wrote the Premier, and we are pleased to see the province decide against leveling a new tax in Manitoba.
Over the past week, your Chamber has been busy at the provincial legislature. On October 16 we met with Ron Schuler, the new Minister of Infrastructure. During the meeting your Chamber raised the importance of strategic infrastructure investment, and discussed ways of improving the procurement process for all parties involved. On October 17 we met with new NDP and Official Opposition Leader Wab Kinew, and discussed different income security measures.
The Chamber had our first meeting with Minister Rochelle Squires in her new role as Minister for Sustainable Development on October 18. At that meeting, we shared our carbon pricing policy and discussed other ways in which we can continue to reduce emissions in Manitoba. Yesterday we met with Blaine Pedersen, the new Minister of Growth, Enterprise and Trade. During that meeting we discussed ways to reduce the red tape that burdens business, as well as how a comprehensive economic development strategy could move the province forward.
We are pleased to see the government will not be going ahead with a new healthcare tax, and that the voices of our members helped prevent a new tax. However, while we prevented a tax, we still encourage the province to review our entire taxation system to ensure Manitoba is a competitive place to do business. While Premier Brad Wall has said Saskatchewan will pause their planned corporate tax cut, he has mused about raising the small business threshold. Manitoba already has the lowest small business threshold in the country, and our western neighbour raising theirs will put us at a further competitive disadvantage.
The Winnipeg Chamber encourages members to continue to provide their feedback to the province directly on what they think should be in the next provincial budget. In addition, members can hear directly from the Finance Minister at the 2018 Western Business Outlook as he prepares this government’s third budget.